BECKLEY, W.Va. – The Sissonville girls soccer team is one win away from the program's second state championship after the Indians defeated Fairmont Senior 3-1 Friday in the Class AA/A state semifinals at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex.
Senior Mary Schmeck, a member of the Indians' 2011 state runner-up team, opened the scoring for Sissonville (21-0-3) with 13 minutes to play in the first half.
With time winding down in the half, Sissonville appeared to catch Fairmont Senior on its heels. Indians sophomore Madison Jones made a nifty move to get around a Polar Bear defender and found Taylor Rhodes in front of the net to increase the lead to 2-0.
"At practice we would work on negative balls because our midfield would always cross it too far or too high," Rhodes said. "We worked on getting to the line and crossing it back. I was calling for it. "
Sissonville wasted little time in scoring its third goal. Less than a minute later, Jones converted a penalty kick to put the Indians ahead 3-0 going into the half.
The Polar Bears (19-3-1) got on the board early in the second half on an Olivia Wilson goal, but that was as close as they could get. Sissonville goalkeeper Brooke Reed made a save on Gabi Mascaro's free kick attempt with 8 minutes to play and from there the Indians clamped down to hold on for the win.
"Very excited to be in this position," Sissonville Coach Ali Sadeghian said. "We feel very lucky and we're not going to take it for granted."
Sissonville will play defending state champion Bridgeport at 10 a.m. in Saturday's championship match. The teams met earlier this season in a 2-2 draw on Sept. 14 at Sissonville.
Bridgeport (16-3-3) advanced to Saturday's title game with a 2-1 win in overtime against PikeView on Friday afternoon.
The Panthers (15-6-1) got on the board first on a Crysta Meekins goal in the first half, but Bridgeport answered with a goal from Mikayla Oliverio.
"We've given up the first goal a lot of times," Bridgeport Coach John Reese said. "Sometimes it takes that to get our girls going. Once we got a goal the fighting instinct kicked in for these girls."
The teams remained tied 1-1 through the second half, and five minutes into the overtime period freshman Reagan Lesher slid a pass to Alexis Lindsay in the penalty area. Lindsay took a touch and beat the PikeView goalkeeper for the golden goal to send Bridgeport back to the state title game.
I thought I was going to hit it way over because that's what I usually do," Lindsay said. "I was really excited."
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It will be an all-Mountain State Athletic Conference Class AAA boys state championship game.
George Washington's Drew Davis scored on a free kick from approximately 30 yards away two minutes into the first half of the Patriots match against Jefferson and the GW defense, along with goalkeeper Garrett Phillips, kept the Cougars off the scoreboard to punch a ticket for Saturday's final.
Parkersburg (19-2-2) scored the final two goals of the game to beat Winfield in the other boys Class AAA semifinal.
The Generals (11-10-3) struck first on a penalty kick by Jesse Richmond. Parkersburg's Evan Rhodes answered almost immediately on a free kick to even the score.
It was Rhodes again, this time in the 76th minute, that beat Winfield goalkeeper Bryce Boggs for the game-winner.
Parkersburg was without Coach Don Fosselman, who was serving a red card suspension. Fosselman's son, also named Don, was in charge for the Big Reds on Friday.
"Coach did a great job of preparing these guys. He made my job easy," the younger Fosselman said. "He had these guys ready to play and it made it easy for me."
The Patriots (23-0-1) and Parkersburg have met twice this season -- both 2-1 wins for GW. The Big Reds, however, won the teams last meeting at the State Tournament (in last year's semifinal round)
"I think back to last year when they bumped us off in the semis," GW Coach Tom Hopper said. "We've had a lot of good games over the season. It will be interesting tomorrow."
The Class AAA boys championship game is scheduled for 10 a.m.
Contact sportswriter Tom Bragg at tom.br...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4871